Bangalore, India, 30 April 2006 – The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 9 here with NASA on the US payload for Chandrayaan-1, the first Lunar Mission of India to be realised in 2007-08. NASA Chief Dr Michael Griffin would be visiting ISRO to sign up the MoU, under which NASA would be providing two payloads–Minature Synthetic Aperture Radar and Moon Mineralogy Mapper operating in 0.7-3 micrometre band according to sources.
Besides the US, Chandrayaan satellite would have payloads from Bulgaria and European Space Agency (ESA). The 500 kg satellite (lift off weight 1304 kg) would have a host of Indian payloads, which would take up chemical mapping of the entire lunar surface, besides helping to prepare a three dimensional atlas of regions of scientific interest. The payloads include a Moon Impact probe for future landing missions, a high energy x-ray spectrometer, a lunar laser ranging instrument with a height resolution of five metres, a terrain mapping camera with stereo imaging capability and a five metre spatial resolution and a hyper spectral imager operating in 0.4-0.95 micrometre band with a special resolution of 15 manometre, a spatial resolution of 80 metre, sources said.
The Rs 386 crore maiden planetary exploration project of India was approved by the Government in September 2003. Besides the satellite, the project also envisaged setting up of a Deep Space Network to be located near Bangalore with a 32 m diameter x/s band antenna. An Indian Space Science Data Centre to process the scientific data transmitted by the Satellite would also be established, sources added.